I was thinking about this the other day and decided to share my thoughts about it.
Before I begin I would like to note a few things. 1) Anything described below are only ideas I thought about. This is has nothing to do with any rumors or speculation on what’s in store for the next generation console. 2) Don’t talk about fight club. 3) I believe this discussion needed some illustrations, so I photoshopped a few images to help visualize what I’m talking about. The quality of the images are not important (I did not want to spend a whole lot of time making perfect images). 4) Yes, I agree. It’s very, very early to start talking about next gen consoles, but I wanted to explain what my thoughts were for the system. Now let us begin!
I was wondering what Microsoft was conjuring up for their successor to the 360. Primarily, I was thinking about the controller. What are they planning to do differently compared to the current controller for the Xbox 360? What kind of new functionality can we get out of the new system to consider it “next gen,” but still keeping the control layout similar to the current one? Should it include a new type of feature that might propel Microsoft into a market they have not yet ventured into before? Well, I came up with a list of items that I think will suffice most of what I have just explained. If you don’t want to read the details and just want a summary of what I’m about to explain, go to the very bottom of this blog entry.
DisplayYes, a screen will be placed on the controller and this will be the primary new item for it. The display will be the center object for most of the ideas I have for the “720” controller. It will replace the Xbox Guide button, but will have the same functionality (explained later). First off, the display will be an OLED screen. One of the primary advantages of using OLED compared to an LCD display is that it consumes less power. Obviously this means better battery life. This will be definitely needed if a wireless controller were to have a screen put on it. The size of the display would be approximately 1.46 in × 1.02 in (37 mm × 26 mm). This is the same size of the display for the Dreamcast’s VMU. The screen size would be big enough to be used without straining the eyes, but small enough to fit onto a controller that’s roughly the same as the 360s controller.
The display will have two physical purposes. One is to be used as a, well, screen, so that the player can see the images that are going to be displayed on it. The second is to be used as a button. Similar to the SurePress feature for the Blackberry Storm, when the display is pressed down, it will give the player the felling as if they pressed down on a physical button. Pressing down on the display will give the same functionally as the Xbox Guide button does for the current Xbox 360 controller. Double-clicking the screen will show the controller number and the battery life. The screen will display colors and will not be a touch screen. The player will also have the ability to adjust the brightness of the display.
When the Xbox is not online, the display will show the Xbox’s “X” symbol. When logged into Xbox Live, it will show a mini version of your gamercard (gamertag, gamer picture, and gamerscore) along with an envelope if you have a new message.
BatteryThe battery will be internal and non-replaceable. It can be charged whenever it’s attached to either the console or a PC via a USB cable.
Internal flash memoryThis will be used so the player can store Micro games onto the controller. The storage could be a few gigabytes in size.
“Micro Games”Similar to the VMU for the Dreamcast, the controller will have the ability to store “Micro games” onto its internal flash memory. This will allow Microsoft to enter into the handheld console gaming market. They will call it “Micro games” as opposed to “mini games” because it will offer more than just a bunch of short played games. It will be a new feature that supports a game that is played on the 720 console. The controller will actually be the handheld gaming console when considering Micro games. This means you can play the Micro game without the need of the main console. After transferring the Micro game from the 720 console onto the internal memory on the controller, just put your 720 controller into your backpack and play the Micro game while on the go! The console game will have to support this feature in order to have a Micro game on the controller.
Below are a few examples of the main console games supporting the Micro games feature:
- An RPG game. Are you going on a trip, but want to build up some experience for your character? The Micro game will have a few mini quests that will, along the way, allow you to gain some experience points when battling monsters. When you get back from your trip and connect your controller back to the 720 console, all of the experience points and items you have acquired when playing the Micro game will be transferred back to the main game that’s played on the console.
- A fighting game. Micro game will offer a training mode so you can practice learning moves for characters when you are not going to be near a console for a while. Great for practicing during your lunch break while you are at work. The display will show the character you have chosen and he/she will execute the moves you wanted the character to perform.
- Driving games. Have the ability to modify the performance of your car. All modifications will be applied back to the main console game. Track maps can also be available so you can memorize the track layout.
In conclusion, Micro games will get the best of both worlds. It’s not a watered-down console gaming experience (PSP), and it’s not just a bunch of mini games (DS).
SpeakerThe controller will have stereo speakers and will probably be placed somewhere underneath the controller. Speakers will be used for the Micro games.
GPUTo render graphics onto the screen. Will be able to render 2D and 3D graphics.
“Gameplay Supplement”When playing a game on the Xbox 720, the screen on the controller will display custom animations or images that will enhance the gameplay.
Below are some examples demonstrating this:
- When playing a football game, a series of images will be displayed on the screen of the controller. The team’s helmet that the player selected will be displayed. Next will show the current score for each team. An event such as a touchdown, safety, or interception will trigger the screen to show some crazy and wacky type of animation (something similar to what would be displayed on the big screen at an actual football game).
- A game like Resident Evil could show health status and number of bullets remaining in the clip.
- A fighting game will display the character that the player chose.
Well, that’s everything I wanted to discuss with you. Could any of this really be implemented into a controller? Will it be difficult for developers to create material for these features? Does anyone care for this stuff? I don’t know!? What do you think? I would like to hear your opinions on this.
Summary- OLED will replace the Xbox Guide button
- OLED screen will be a click screen. Similar to the Blackberry Storm. Clicking down on the screen gives the same functionality as the Xbox Guide button does for the current Xbox 360 controller.
- Brightness controller for the screen
- Internal rechargeable battery
- “Micro Games” – A VMU type game that will enhance a console game. Can be played without the console. Take it on the go.
- Similarly design to the 360 controller (they have already found the “perfect” design), except that it might be a little bit taller on the top to accommodate a slightly larger screen.
- Display on the controller will show the player’s gamercard when logged into Xbox Live
- When playing a console game, screen will display custom animations or images that will enhance gameplay.
- Madden Football = the team’s helmet that the player selected will be displayed.
- Resident Evil = shows health status and/or number of bullets left in the clip.
- Internal flash memory to store “Micro games”
- Tiny speaker(s) for mini games (similar to either the PSP or iPhone)
- GPU to render graphics onto the screen.